Incident Responses for September 2019

Posted Fri, 10/04/2019 - 15:03

Every month our Emergency Response Division provides scientific expertise and services to the U.S. Coast Guard on everything from running oil spill trajectories to model where the spill may spread, to possible effects on wildlife and fisheries and estimates on how long the oil may stay in the environment.

This month OR&R responded to 12 incidents, including oil discharges, sunken vessels, and other pollution-related incidents.  

Here are some of September's notable incidents:

Vehicle-Carrier Vessel Capsizes in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Georgia

On Sept. 8, a vehicle-carrier vessel capsized and later caught fire in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Georgia. The U.S. Coast Guard contacted NOAA to run an initial trajectory analysis and report on the resources at risk in the area. 

M/V Golden Ray had onboard a crew of 24 with a cargo of 4,200 vehicles at the time that it rolled over on its left side. The U.S. Coast Guard led search and rescue for four crew members still aboard the freighter. All crew have been rescued. 

The vessel was reportedly “burping” oil shortly after the incident began, and the release continued until Oct. 1. Reports of oil sightings indicate oiling on nearby shorelines, including marsh habitat, and oiled wildlife. 

The vessel remains on its side at this time as responders continue working to remove the fuel and minimize the risk of further pollution. In the latest press release from the joint incident command, it was reported that salvage workers continue to lighter the vessel. They have removed over 169,000 gallons of fuel as of Sept. 26. 

Response efforts and early damage assessments remain underway. To stay up to date on this incident, visit the St. Simons Sound Response site.

Crude Oil from Barge Released, Contained within Lock near New Site, Mississippi

Over 100,000 gallons of crude oil was estimated to have released from a barge within the Jamie Whitten Lock on the Tennessee Tombigee Waterway near New Site, Mississippi on Sept. 8. 

All oil was believed to be contained within the lock, and the U.S. Coast Guard contacted NOAA for trajectory analysis for any potential release from the lock. Cleaning operations, including the use of skimmers and several vacuum trucks, removed the majority of the oil and oiled water. Cleanup for the remaining residual oil is ongoing. 

According to a Coast Guard press release, the oil has remained contained within the lock and no environmental or wildlife impact has been reported. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Mystery Sheen Spotted on Mississippi River Near Downtown New Orleans

On Sept. 11, the U.S. Coast Guard received a report of an unknown dark product around mile marker 96 in the Mississippi River. An overflight confirmed the dark product and sheen was moving downstream along the descending bank for approximately a quarter of a mile. 

The Coast Guard was unable to identify a responsible party and accessed the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for cleanup operations. Boom was placed around the impacted area and NOAA’s scientific support coordinator for the region was onsite to assist with the response.

Longliner Caught Fire Near Oahu, Hawaii

A 41-foot longliner was reportedly on fire approximately 6 miles south of Oahu, Hawaii on Sept. 17. The U.S. Coast Guard contacted NOAA for a trajectory in the event of an oil release. 

The commercial fishing vessel Miss Emma was carrying about 1,7000 gallons at the time it caught fire. The still-burning vessel sank later that week with no sign of pollution or debris. NOAA current and weather forecasts indicated that if any oil was released, it was not expected to reach the shoreline.

A person on a boat wearing response gear while spraying oiled marsh.
Clean up crews spray sphagnum moss, a peat absorbent, to freshly oiled marsh grass at the mouth, and along the banks, of Cedar Creek. On Sept. 8, a vehicle-carrier vessel capsized and later caught fire in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Georgia. The vessel later began leaking oil.  Image credit: Unified Command.

Here is the complete list of last month’s incidents, click on the links to find out more:

Incident Responses for September 2019

Posted Fri, 10/04/2019 - 15:03

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